In my last post I copied Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” and I listed the first question of his “Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered”. Today I am posting his second question, Suzanne McCarthy’s expert Greek answer, and my own challenge after that.
2. hypotasso: Where the Bible says that wives are to “be subject to’’ to their husbands (Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5; and implied in Eph. 5:22, 24), you tell us that the verb “be subject to’’ (hypotasso, passive) is a requirement for both husbands and wives—that just as wives are to be subject to their husbands, so husbands are to be subject to their wives, and that there is no unique authority that belongs to the husband. Rather, the biblical ideal is “mutual submission’’ according to Ephesians 5:21, “be subject to one another,’’ and therefore there is no idea of one-directional submission to the husband’s authority in these other verses (Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5; and Eph. 5:22, 24). But we have never been able to find any text in ancient Greek literature where hypotasso (passive) refers to a person or persons being “subject to’’ another person, and where the idea of submission to that person’s authority is absent. In every example we can find, when person A is said to “be subject to’’ person B, person B has a unique authority which person A does not have. In other words, hypotasso always implies a one-directional submission to someone in authority. So our question is this:
Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “be subject to’’ (hypotasso, passive) is used to refer to one person in relation to another and does not include the idea of one-directional submission to the other person’s authority?
If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if you cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of these key verses, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.
Wayne Grudem is answered by Suzanne McCarthy. Unfortunately I was not able to copy the Greek fonts in my blog, but the original is here.
2. Hupotasso – [to submit, yield]
Dr. Grudem writes,
Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “be subject to’’ (hypotass?, passive) is used to refer to one person in relation to another and does not include the idea of one-directional submission to the other person’s authority?
Here are two clear examples,
1 Clement 38.1:
“So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject to his neighbor, to the degree determined by his spiritual gift,”
2 Macc 13.23,
”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”
In the first case, Christians are to be subject to their neighbour, and in the second, the king is subject to his subjects. We can rightly say that (hypotasso, passive) is used to refer to a Christian in relation to his or her neighbour and it does not include the idea of one-directional submission to that other person’s authority.
Question #2 for Complementarians by Cheryl Schatz
2. Complementarians tell us that the verb “be subject to’’ (hypotasso, passive) is not reciprocal with the term in Ephesians 5:21 however can you explain why all the lexicons say that it is a reciprocal pronoun meaning one another? Why would complementarians deny for males what is clearly to be a Christian attitude? If the submission was not to be reciprocal, then why did the Holy Spirit inspire the Greek word that means mutually, one another (reciprocal)? If God had meant that husbands were to be exempt from the Christian attitude of submission, wouldn’t he have clearly stated their exemption?
Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament: genitive of the reciprocal pronoun; one another, each other, mutually, applicable to first-, second-, or third-person referents
The complete word study dictionary : New Testament by Zodhiates: of a reciprocal pron. one another
Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament)each other one, another; a pronoun which marks reciprocation between two persons or groups
Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament: 1. The reciprocal pron. (attested from the beginnings of Greek literature) is formed by the doubling of the stem. It originally means one to the other(s)… 2. The understanding of (Greek G240) in the NT is unproblematic; the translation each other or mutually is sufficient for every instance…Of theological relevance here is the use of (Greek G240) primarily in the description of the (obligatory) conduct of Christians in the community toward each other, with emphasis on mutuality and culminating in the love commandment
A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W.) (BDAG): of the reciprocal pron.each other, one another, mutually,